There are a few races left for spots on the opening day roster. There's some jobs left in the bullpen. Adrian Cardenas is making a late run at Blake DeWitt, and perhaps a spot or two in the rotation. Normally nobody pays much attention to the backup catcher role, but that may be the tightest race of all. So who should the Cubs take north with them? Let's compare the two...
Castillo has hit .357/.400/.536 for the spring with 1 HR. Clevenger has hit .321/.344/.607 with 2 HRs. Unusual in that Clevenger has had slightly better power and Castillo has had the better OBP -- the opposite of how they project in the majors. It's too close to base it on spring stats along. I'll call this one a wash.
Hitting for Average
Clevenger is the more polished hitter. He's a lifetime .304 hitter in the minor leagues. Castillo is a lifetime .265 hitter
Castillo used to be as hacktastic a player as you'd find but had a respectable 8.7% walk rate last year and continues to improve in that area. Clevenger, however, routinely surpasses that mark and was at 9.8% last year. Clevenger gets the edge here, but Castillo has closed the gap considerably
Castillo is the bigger player and it definitely shows up in the power department. He has the potential to hit 15-20 HRs while Clevenger is more of a singles and doubles hitter.
Castillo has made great strides in the receiving part of his game. He's always had the tools but the focus wasn't always there. He has gone from being occasional sloppy to solid average, perhaps a bit more, in that area, but Clevenger may be a bit better at this stage.
Slight Edge: Clevenger
Clevenger has an average arm but Castillo has a cannon.
Clevenger bats lefty and makes for a better complementary player as far as matchups are concerned.
Although it may never come into play, Clevenger can play 1B and 3B if needed. Castillo is strictly a catcher.
Clevenger is the more polished player and also has the lower ceiling, so he's less likely to be less hurt by missing additional time in AAA. Castillo has starting potential but needs to work on being more consistent with his receiving and perhaps continuing to improve on his plate discipline.
Roster Situation/Options/Cost Control
This part is pretty inconsequential as both are on the 40 man roster, although Clevenger does have an extra option. You could argue that Castillo could be a starter and delaying his service time would save the Cubs more money than Clevenger, who's destiny is likely to be a backup.
It's a close call, but I think Clevenger fits the profile of a backup catcher better and in the end, Castillo might be better served to get ABs everyday. On the other hand, Castillo really doesn't have a lot to prove at AAA and may be better served by the MLB coaching staff to continue his development.